As leaves fall and daylight grows shorter, Trevecca Nazarene University is ushering in a new era for recreational sports. Students now have the opportunity to compete against other colleges and universities in a new club sport: Ultimate Frisbee.
The Trevecca Thrashers, as the team is known, played in their first tournament last weekend, hosted by Union University’s team in Jackson, Tenn. The team finished the weekend with a record of 1-5.
The idea began when Matthew Hatton, a founder of the team, wanted to continue playing Ultimate in a competitive style. He grew up playing Ultimate with his youth group at TNT, a Church of the Nazarene youth event held each spring on Trevecca’s campus. Hatton then continued his Ultimate career on a successful high school team.
He didn’t think twice about starting a team at Trevecca.
“I knew that a lot of people on campus had a lot of interest in Ultimate,” Hatton, now a sophomore, said. “So, I just set out in October of my freshman year to plan it and get everything ready for this year.”
Grant Runyan, another member of the Trevecca Ultimate team, also played ultimate before college.
“I’ve been involved in frisbee ever since sixth grade,” Runyan said. “I first began to play in my youth group. Ultimate gives people the opportunity to compete, be part of a team, build community and display sportsmanship. [Ultimate] has improved my life, and I want to see it improve other peoples’ lives.”
Trevecca’s Ultimate team is considered a club team, which means unlike intramural teams, the team will compete against other colleges and universities.
“We actually go and play, representing Trevecca, against other colleges,” Hatton said. “Ultimate [Frisbee] has a very big presence on a lot of college campuses around the nation ...We're a part of USA Ultimate, which is the governing body [of Ultimate].”
The college division of USA Ultimate began in 1984, and since then, it has expanded to include more than 800 college teams.
Hatton has big dreams for the team. First, he’d love to have enough players to field both a men’s and women’s team. Playing in the USA Ultimate National Championship is the supreme goal, though.
“I think everybody’s dream is to go to Nationals,” Hatton said.
Runyan agreed but stressed that it will take time and effort to build a championship team.
“I want our team to show up to tournaments full of energy and excitement,” Runyan said. “I want other teams to see the sportsmanship we display on the field. Obviously, I want our team to improve throughout the year. My goal for the team is to advance through sectionals, and anything after that is the icing on the cake."
Hatton and Runyan say that the Trevecca community has been supportive and excited about the new club team. More than that, they’re both honored to be a part of initiating a new team sport at the University.
“I’m super excited to bring this new community and activity to Trevecca’s campus, and to represent our university in a sport we haven’t done before,” Hatton said.